Relating well to the land

A snapshot of the land I call home: Belden map of 1855, showing the territories taken from the tribes of Oregon.

The earth has always been the main event, though humans have a tendency to overlook the ground in favor of the heavens. The current race to space among the billionaire class is only the most recent example of our disembodied relationship with the earth. The ground–not the sky–has always been the limit of human civilizations. We ignore the soil and the soul at our peril.

I, for one, find myself a bit afraid to bow into a relationship with the ground beneath my feet. The land I “own” was taken from its original stewards, the Kalapuya peoples, in 1855. The land you live on or own was similarly stolen from native peoples, fractured into pieces, and sold. The land has not forgotten, nor commonly been asked to forgive, these acts of theft, trespass, and violence. 

But because we live here now, we are uniquely qualified to ask forgiveness, repair harm, and learn to relate well to these lands once again. 

You and I occupy the fulcrum point in history where our primary job is to clean up messes and make amends for crimes committed some generations ago. If we shirk our responsibility to the land and to our descendants, the price of cleanup will grow–with compounding interest. Regardless of our heritage, regardless of where we stand relative to society, we all stand on a piece of the earth. This is where we begin.

To pretend the mountain, stream, or tree isn’t alive, capable of communication and communion, is to exempt oneself from the web of reciprocal relationships in which we are embedded. To continue to obey the dominant materialist paradigm which says that we cannot communicate meaningfully with the natural world is to tear, rather than repair, the web of life.

There are many ways to befriend the place we live, deepen in connection, and repair past harm. Journeywork is one way of entering into a heart-centered and mutual relationship with the land. 

If you were to seek counsel from the land about how to right wrongs, ask for forgiveness, or facilitate the health of that place, where would you start? 

Who would you call upon to begin the process of building a relationship? Our journeys this week will seek to begin answering these questions. 


Before our circle, take about 15 minutes to walk around the land where you live. Walk mindfully, or sit, with your senses engaged. 

Bring a gift of some kind for your land. We will discuss our experience at the start of our circle.


If you can attend Gaia Shamanism’s relating well to the land journey circle this Wednesday, November 10, from 4-6 pm PST, email anna “at” gaiashamanism “dot” com.

All skill levels are welcome. This is the first in a series of journeys.

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